Star guard remains on track to play early in the NBA regular season.
Kobe Bryant has taken another big step forward in his return to playing duties with the Los Angeles Lakers with the superstar jogging and taking shots this week.
It is another positive sign the veteran continues to heal at a faster than expected rate after he underwent surgery to repair his torn Achilles tendon late last season.
While team offcials continue to not provide with an exact return date for Bryant they said it was a boost for Bryant and the rest of the team to see him suited up for practice.
“He just keeps progressing,” Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said. “He was out today shooting a little bit and jogging. He just keeps getting better.”
After starting the pre-season camp working at 75 to 80 per cent of his body weight on set machines he has quickly progressed to 100 per cent.
However, D’Antoni was quick to point out there was still a long way to go before Bryant takes part in full team practice drills.
“He’s going up on his tiptoes,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t think he was jumping, but it wasn’t flatfooted. It was set shooting.
“I saw him shoot the ball today for the first time,” D’Antoni said. “I don’t know if it’s the first time, but it’s the first time I saw him. So, that’s a progression. I’m not in the training room to see what he does every day. Obviously as hard as he’s worked, every day he’s going to get a little bit better. Now, what that means, I don’t know.”
The Lakers leader ha said until Bryant comes back all positions are up for grabs except for Steve Nash at point guard and Pau Gasol at centre, which sets the scene for a very competitive pre-season camp for the glamour club as fringe players clamor for starting spots.